Dunk Contest Field Announced: Event will have new format for 2014

Blake Murphy

Terrence Ross will defend his Slam Dunk Contest title on Feb. 15 against five other dunkers, as the NBA announced on Thursday.

However, it appears he may be the last Slam Dunk Contest Champion, regardless of the results in New Orleans.

In a pretty strange - but possibly exciting - move, the NBA has announced a format change for the 2014 edition of the Dunk Contest. From NBA.com:

This year's event will feature the participants competing as a team -- three players representing the Eastern Conference and three players representing the Western Conference -- in an above-the-rim two-round format. In a significant first in the event's history, the competition will tip off with a Freestyle Round where the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to showcase as many dunks as they want. At the conclusion of the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will then choose a winner by voting "East" or "West." The winning conference will earn the advantage of deciding whether its dunkers will dunk first or second in the head-to-head battles that take place in the Battle Round.

The Battle Round will feature head-to-head matchups pitting East dunkers vs. West dunkers, with the judges choosing a winner for each battle. Upon losing a head-to-head battle, that dunker is then eliminated from the competition. The first team to win three battles will win the competition and be crowned 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk champions. Complete rules for the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night can be found on mediacentral.nba.com.

This seems unnecessarily complicated.

In short, the first round will see each dunker dunk as much as they want for 90 seconds, with one conference being voted the winner. In the next round, there will be head-to-head battles, with the conference that wins three first winning the event.

So, will there be a champion? Kind of, but not really:

After the competition, fans will also have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice as "Dunker of the Night" through SMS, Twitter, NBA.com and the NBA GameTime app.

So fans will select their favorite dunker at the end.

If the format seems a bit contrived, remember: this is the first time since 1988 there are three All-Stars in the event, Ross put on a good show in 2013, and this all but guarantees a higher quantity of dunks.

We're still excited.

Read more about the participants and view some of their best dunks in the storyline below. Keep up with all the NBA All-Star action here.